Animals in Space

From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle

Colin Burgess and Chris Dubbs

Animals in SpaceIn November of 1957 a small, part-Samoyed stray dog named Laika became the most famous canine in history. She was the first animal to achieve true spaceflight, although her celebrated orbital journey aboard Sputnik 2 was condemned by dog lovers around the world, with their fears justified as Laika perished in space. Even before this, animals from both the United States and the Soviet Union had already flown on little-known research missions.

Dogs, monkeys, rabbits, mice and other creatures may have been unwilling astronauts, and many would die from their adventures, but their participation was seen as vital if humans were to safely follow their tiny footsteps into the unknown hazards of space. Their stories were not disclosed at the time, or they were “cleaned up” for public consumption.

This book examines in unprecedented detail the entire history of animal atmospheric and space flights, from balloon ascents and ballistic journeys atop notoriously unreliable rockets to trips around the Moon and, more recently, aboard numerous space shuttles and space stations.

Controversy will always surround the use of animals in rocket flights and related research. Animals in Space provides a balanced and comprehensive history of these overlooked pioneers, which ultimately paved the way for the human exploration and understanding of space.

Table of Contents

Authors' preface
List of figures
List of abbreviations and acronyms

  1. Taming the rockets: From wrath to research
  2. Holloman and the Albert Hall of Fame
  3. Pioneers of destiny: The suborbital dog flights
  4. High-altitude research
  5. Able and Baker lead the way
  6. The most famous dog in history
  7. Prelude to manned space flight
  8. Pioneers in a weightless world
  9. Biting the hand
  10. Cosmos/Bion: The age of the biosatellites
  11. End of an era
  12. Shuttling into space
  13. Epilogue
Appendix A U.S. monkey research flights
Appendix B Soviet space dog programme
Appendix C U.S. biological rocket flights, 1946 - 1960
Appendix D French biological rocket flights, 1961 - 1967
Appendix E Chinese T-7 sounding rocket launches
Appendix F Bion research flights
Appendix G Space shuttle life science orbital flights

Extent: 430 pages
Binding: Paperback
Publication Date: December 2006
ISBN: 978-0-387-36053-9

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